Women Across Argentina Are Taking To The Streets Demanding More Freedoms With The #NiUnaMenos Feminist Revolution
Cecilia Palmeiro is the fierce mujer behind Argentina’s “Ni Una Menos” (not one less) campaign against femicide. Their first national protest was in October 2016, and since then, the movement has touched different corners of a larger issue of systematic female oppression. Abortion is illegal in Argentina, recently ratified after a failed attempt to legalize abortion last year. Ni Una Menos sees abortion rights and economic security as two sides to the same coin.
On Monday, Palmeiro organized another major national strike, drawing in thousands of Argentine poderosas to call on the country to take emergency action for women.
In recent years, Argentina’s economy has plummeted into crisis, causing the government to cut social services.
The families that once relied on these services are forced into private debt. Palmeiro also sees a rising pattern of women being forced to stay in abusive relationships because it is financially unfeasible to leave.
This year’s protest may have had an undercurrent of economic goals, but the message is the same.
Protesters held signs showing the faces of women who have been murdered by their abusive partners. The message is simple: we can’t afford to lose one more woman to unfettered sexism.
With another election coming up in October, protesters regrouped the next day to advocate for abortion rights.
Abortion is only legal in Argentina if the woman was raped or the pregnancy is a risk to her health. Congress rejected the National Campaign for Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion’s bill last year. They’re submitting another bill this year to legalize abortion.
These three touchstones–ending domestic violence, ending the economic crisis, and legalizing abortion–are the key to gender equality for Palmeiro.
Like most social issues, there isn’t one easy fix. It’s an issue that we, as a society, have created over generations and that take sweeping efforts to untangle and undo.
And, like always, women in poverty feel the effects of patriarchal laws the most severely.
Yamila Picasso of the National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free abortion told Al Jazeera, “We see that there is a clear relationship between these factors because abortion is a matter of social justice. Those who have the economic means can have an abortion, and those who do not must have unsafe or clandestine abortions.”
Around Buenos Aires, you’ll find political art wherever you look.
#NiUnaMenos is calling for stricter punishment laws against men who commit violent acts against women, in the hope of deterring and changing the culture. Women feel a danger walking the street that most men don’t, and this bench exemplifies this implicit policing of women’s bodies.
Here, you’ll see the shoes of murdered Argentine women.
The National Register of Femicides reported 1193 femicides between March 6, 2015 and May 20, 2019. Leaving the shoes of these women at the steps of Congress was an effort to make their absence more visible.
A walk around Buenos Aires shows abundant examples of protest.
This wall effectively reads “Death to machísmo!” #NiUnaMenos’ message is everywhere–from random walls to not so random walls.
#NiUnaMenos is also targeting churches at the heart of abuse scandals.
Twitter user @mariekeriethof posted this photo of graffiti on a church that reads “Trash Church.” She writes, “Anti-Church graffiti on the side of Salta’s main church, focusing on abuse. I’ve seen a lot of very angry graffiti on this topic around Chile and Argentina. Also churches with buckets of paint thrown at them by protesters. #niunamenos”
Even the cast of Orange is the New Black is speaking out.
If you care about this issue, tweet out about it using the hashtags #NiUnaMenos or #VivasNosQueremos. Argentina, estamos contigo.